05/29/2014 04:52 pm ET Updated Jul 29, 2014

Eating Lunch Outside With My Son

Vincent Daly

It was a simple idea, really. Eating outside with my 4-yea-old son. Nature's very own showcase dazzling our senses by means of fresh air, vibrant colors, rich sounds, a chance meeting with a lady bug and an industrious ant carrying a leaf three times its size.

Much to the delight of my mischief-prone boy, we were even treated to a gust of wind, giving flight to our paper plates. My son was visibly content. A far cry from the rambunctious, seemingly rocket fuel-powered, insatiably inquisitive little lad I've grown accustomed to over the years. Together, for the first time in our history as father and son, we collectively experienced a sense of tranquility. Honestly, I nearly fell off the bench where I was seated in disbelief.

We spoke about random topics. Bugs, of course, remained high on the list.

"What do ants eat Daddy?"

"Usually leaves, but they'll eat a variety of foods."

"Like macaroni and cheese?"


"Like you make?"


"How about if Mommy makes it?"

"Probably not."


"Never mind."

A few seconds passed.

"Silly Daddy."

The process of aging was also addressed.

"Will I still live with you and Mommy when I'm 100?"

"Probably not."


"You'll be too big."

"As big as an elephant?"

"No, but too big for the bed you sleep in now."

"Oh. How about if we just get a bigger bed for me Daddy?"

"Talk to me about it when you're 21, OK?"

Also on the agenda was the subject of fingernails.

"Daddy, why do girls and women have long nails?"

"It's just a choice which many girls and women make to grow them long."

"But I want long nails too!"

"OK, but you're not a girl. Why do you want long nails, anyway?"

"To fight all the carnivores, like T-Rexes"

"Well, in that case, we'll talk about it with your Mommy."

I could ramble on with platitudes of the joys and challenges of fatherhood. And yet, there are moments with one's children that defy description other than a connection with one's humanity. I can tell you we took way too many silly pictures, giggled without provocation and picked out (much to the dismay of my lower back muscles) the perfect green leaf from a tree to bring home to his mother. My son decided we should have lunch outside more often. I agree.

What memorable connection have you had recently with your children?

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